Friday, July 3, 2009

The Mighty Pope

Sorry I have not updated this. I will now since I am at it again with the doc. I've been involved for a year. I have met great people so far like Kevin Howes aka Sipreano and the music made by Jamaican Canadians is amazing, especially the originals like Jackie Mitto, Wayne McGhie, .

Another great person is Earle "The Mighty Pope" Heedrum. Probably the coolest man in Canada. If you meet Pope you will understand. Makes amazing oxtail also.

Here is something about Pope I grabbed from Canadian Music Enclyopedia...

Jamaican-born Earl Heedram sang in church choirs as a boy but following graduation from High School decided to become an accountant in Toronto. Following a dare from friends in 1966 to appear on stage, Heedram gave up accounting and began a career as a disco icon named Pope. His career break came in 1970 when he opened for Natalie Cole at the Ontario Place Forum in Toronto.

A scout for RCA-Canada caught Earl's act while he was getting club work around Toronto and signed him to a one album deal. The 1977 song "Heaven On The Seventh Floor" broke the Canadian Top 20. The follow-up single, "Can't Get By Without You", failed to do as well.

By 1978 Heedram was re-christened Mighty Pope and signed with Quality Records under the tutelage of producer John Driscoll who surrounded him with top-notch talent, amongst them was Gino Soccio, for his second solo album 'Sweet Blindness'.

Upon release the album shot up the club charts and was picked up for American release by Soccio's label RFC Records. The first 12" single was a remake of the Bobby Rydell's hit "Sway" followed by a 12" single of the title track. Both songs would also be remixed by Jim Burgess and would score Top 40 placings on the U.S. disco charts.

But his induction to disco was short-lived and musical tastes shifter. RFC Records closed folded and Heedram eventually retired to the safety of accounting.

with notes from Greg Simpson.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Champion Of The Arena

The Lily Allen number "Smile"

The Jackie Mittoo and The Soul Brother number "Free Soul.

From Wikipedia,

Jackie Mittoo (3 March 1948 — 16 December 1990) was a Jamaican keyboardist, songwriter and musical director. Mittoo was among the true legends of reggae - a founding member of The Skatalites and an extraordinarily prolific songwriter, he was perhaps most influential as a mentor to countless younger performers, primarily through his work as the musical director at the famed Studio One. [1]
[edit]Life and career

He was born Donat Roy Mittoo, in Browns Town, St Ann's, Jamaica, and began learning to play the piano at the age of four under the tutelage of his grandmother.
In the 1960s he was a member of The Skatalites, The Rivals, The Sheiks, The Soul Brothers and The Soul Vendors. Among Mittoo's greatest contributions of the mid to late 1960s were "Darker Shade of Black" (the basis for Frankie Paul's "Pass the Tu Sheng Peng"), Freddie McGregor's "Bobby Babylon", Alton Ellis' "I'm Still in Love with You", The Cables' rock steady anthem "Baby Why" and "Feel Like Jumping", Marcia Griffiths' first hit. In 1970, his "Peanie Wallie" was also versioned by The Wailers, becoming the hit "Duppy Conqueror".[2]
He also played for Lloyd "Matador" Daley (1968-1969).
He emigrated to Toronto, Canada at the end of the 1960s. There he recorded three albums, Wishbone (Summus), Reggae Magic (CTL) and Let's Put It All Together (CTL), set up the Stine-Jac label, as well as running a record store. He had a hit with Wishbone in 1971. He performed in local Toronto lounges throughout the 1970s. Mittoo assisted Toronto-area reggae bands and artists, including Earth, Wind and Fire, Esso Jaxxon (R. Zee Jackson), Carl Harvey, Lord Tanamo, Boyo Hammond, Carl Otway, The Sattalites, and Jackie James.
Mittoo continued to record for Jamaican producers in the 1970s, mostly for Bunny Lee.[3]
During the next decade, he worked regularly with Sugar Minott as well. In 1989, Mittoo joined the reunited Skatalites, but health problems soon forced him to bow out.
In 1989/1990? he recorded Wild Jockey for Lloyd Barnes’ Wackies label.
Mittoo entered a hospital on 12 December and died of cancer on 16 December 1990.[4] He was forty two years old.
His funeral was held at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica on 2 January 1991. Hortense Ellis, Neville 'Tinga' Stewart, Desmond "Desi Roots" Young, Ruddy Thomas, Tommy Cowan, Clement "Coxsone" Dodd and others attended. A memorial concert was held at the same time. Vin Gordon, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Glen 'Bagga' Fagan, Pablo Black, Robert Lynn, Michael "Ibo" Cooper, Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, Carlene Davis, Tinga Stewart and others performed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Henry's Records

Last year Seattle's Light in the Attic records and Vancouverite/Record Maniac Sipreano (who is involved in the doc) put out an awesome compilation called "Jamaica To Toronto".

This is a compilation of songs of soul and reggae artists who were involved in a vibrant music scene in the 70's in Toronto.

I am not sure how many people have talked to me about the Toronto via West Indies musicians who called Canada home. A few late night cab drivers have mentioned it to me, including one incredibly informed driver (man I wish I would have gotten his name)!

I was in Scarbourough one day last week and hit one of those industrial buildings that house all kinds of businesses to Henry's Records. Henry helped unearth a lot of these old forgotten records.

I found myself being very jealous of Henry, and the fact that he gets to listen to great records all day. .

Here is a pic of Henry at his shop - check him out Mccowan/Shepard in Toronto.